Sepp Blatter expected FIFA congress tribute

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Sepp Blatter expected his work at FIFA to receive greater praise at last month's presidential elections and says he wants due recognition in the future.

The former FIFA president, who celebrated his 80th birthday on Thursday, also claimed he had discovered who his real friends were following his six-year ban from all football-related activity.

Blatter was succeeded as the top man at world football's governing body by fellow Swiss Gianni Infantino at an extraordinary congress on February 26.

In an interview with Swiss newspaper Blick, Blatter, who revealed he watched the congress at home on an iPad with his daughter Corinne, said: "I think that I would have disturbed congress a little, if I had been there.

"But I had expected that at the least something about my work would have been said by the congress leader at the beginning or the end. 'Not even a bye-bye,' wrote a journalist aptly. Yes, two candidates mentioned me - one who withdrew (Tokyo Sexwale) and another who had few votes (Jerome Champagne)."

Blatter, who was elected FIFA president on five occasions, is appealing his suspension at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and said he expected an outcome by the end of April.

Asked about his parting from FIFA, he said: "I don't have to have a big finish. My only wish - if my business is done that I am recognised at the next congress or the one after that or the congress in 20 years. How I go down in history, time has to decide."

Blatter revealed he had few friends left after his fall from grace.

He said: "I'll give you an example - a friend invited me out to eat three times. Three times he cancelled at the last minute. That speaks volumes. Or with others I felt over the telephone that they responded dismissively.

"But there were also gestures that have made me very happy."

Blatter said he had been contacted by "more than 100 employees of FIFA", while after his suspension he received "220 personal letters. 218 of which were positive".

On his successor Infantino, Blatter said the pair never had "close contract", but would "hug warmly" when they met.

The pair hail from towns just six miles apart and Blatter added: "His tasks is difficult, but he can master it."

But the former president said he did not support Infantino's plans for a 40-team World Cup, saying: "The (current) system has proven itself."

Blatter said "many" of the FIFA member associations were in touch with him about the congress, but that he "remained true to the Swiss national principle (neutrality)".

Blatter maintained his 2million Swiss francs (?1.3million) payment to suspended UEFA president Michel Platini, which saw both men banned, was legal.

The United States Department of Justice, as well as Swiss authorities, is investigating FIFA corruption and Blatter admitted he would be "interrogated immediately" if he travelled to the USA.

"But they can also question me here, which they so far have never done," he said.

He added: "In any case t ravel is way down on the list. As FIFA president I visited 200 countries, constantly doing Sudoku and crossword puzzles in aeroplanes, reading d etective stories - I have now really had enough. The Nomad is settled."

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